An innovative pilot program designed to empower a new generation of disability advocates has been unveiled by Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

The 12-week program, CPActive Young Changemakers, open to all people aged 18-30 with cerebral palsy, has been developed by and for young people with CP.

The flexible, virtual program feature sessions from a variety of young people with CP, including disability rights campaigner Elly Desmarchelier, Paralympic gold medalist Ben Tudhope, environmental activist Daniel Clarke and filmmaker and producer Meret Hassanen.

“It’s going to be the next generation of disabled activists that break down the barriers of discrimination and exclusion for all disabled people, so it’s important they are given the tools to know how to advocate for themselves and their community,” Desmarchelier said.

Each fortnight, the program will explore a new topic designed to develop skills, build lasting relationships and support the growth of participants in three areas:

  • Skills development: Enjoy engaging reading materials, video content, podcasts, and interactive live virtual connect sessions.
  • Community connection: Forge meaningful connections through discussions and peer support.
  • Finding your voice to advocate: Discover the power of your voice and learn effective advocacy strategies.

The program is partly self-paced and can be worked around other commitments such as school, study and work. Once a fortnight, there will be a set virtual connect session over Zoom.

Young Changemakers has grown to a community of almost 3,000 disability advocates, families, carers and allies since its 2021 foundation.

Earlier this year, the advocacy collective successfully launched the ‘Blaze the Trail’ campaign to lobby political decision-makers to adopt more inclusive policies for people with disabilities to access higher education and employment opportunities, with the new NSW Labor government integrating the platform into its election promises. CPActive also played a pivotal role in the ‘Defend our NDIS’ campaign, which successfully put the disability sector and meaningful change for people with disability on the agenda for the 2022 Federal election.

For program information, eligibility, timing and more visit:

Photo: Ben Tudhope, Elly Desmarchelier, Daniel Clarke and Meret Hassanen